August 1, 2004

CHESAPEAKE, VA – Russell’s Heating & Cooling, located in Chesapeake, VA, was named as the number one place to work in the second annual Top 25 Places To Work in Hampton Roads rankings.  Russell’s was featured on the July 5th cover of Inside Business.

A panel of judges with expertise in human resource management and employee satisfaction reviewed all nominations and assigned points in each of four categories – culture/personality, family-friendly environment, compensation, and employee development.  The ratings were then averaged, and a total score for each company was determined.  The nominees were then ranked according to the highest scores. 

Russell’s Heating and Cooling employs only 33 people – 33 people evidently very happy to be working at Russell’s. “It’s easy to love working somewhere where you make six figures and people are giving you accolades all the time, but for people to love to work at a company that does this type of work really says something.”  Says Smith, President of Russell’s Heating and Cooling.  “ The work environment consists of crawling under houses and in attics and many times dealing with customers who are uncomfortable and unhappy. 

Russell’s has improved the difficult work environment by using creative incentives such as often treating the office employees to Starbucks coffee and Bagels from Panera Bread, or giving technicians a $ 50 credit on their tool account for each week they are on call.  The work environment is also financially rewarding – all employees in the field are eligible for generous spiffs and bonuses, in addition to the already high hourly compensation that is given.

Joseph Lacroix, one of the judges said “Russell’s was the clear winner of the contest because of the company’s commitment to its employees and the strong connection Smith has made with his workforce.”  Smith is quoted as saying “People have a really good time working here, there’s always someone laughing in the office…we have a really casual work atmosphere where the job always gets done but not without some fun as well.”

Other notable companies to make the Top 25 list include:  Dollar Tree, Sentara Health Care, QVC, and Stihl.

Russell’s Heating and Cooling, founded in April 1977, is a family owned business that employs 33 people, and has annual sales of over 3.5 million.  Russell’s was also named Small Business of The Year for Chesapeake 2004 by the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce.

Key areas taken into consideration for judging included:

  • High employee morale
  • A clear career path for trainees
  • All management positions filled from within
  • Generous spiffs and bonuses for all employees
  • Communication with employees
  • Teamwork
  • Benefit package
  • Family leave policies
  • Family friendly work policies
  • Time off
  • Quality of office and field work environment
  • Attention to the personal, professional, and financial needs of employees
  • Employee retention
  • Community service
  • Training

Fun Factor

  • The company treats office employees to cinnamon crunch bagels from Panera Bread or Starbucks coffee every couple of weeks.

Top 3 “out of the box” benefits

  • Financial awards and recognition are given for achievements and accomplishments
  • Technicians receive a $ 50 credit in their tool account for each week on call
  • Managers receive a quarterly bonus of 10% of net profits

What Our Customers Are Saying

  • I can't complement your team enough on the wonderful job done with regard to the installation of the new system in our home. More specifically, we want to recognize the outstanding efforts of: Roberto-- the initial visit and diagnosis of the problem.

    Dan & Connie, Virginia Beach
  • I recently had your team install a new gas package unit including all new duct work at my house in Chesapeake. I had a split system that had undersized ducting which was removed by your installers.

    Mike & Sandi, Chesapeake, VA
  • We purchased a one time service for $79. They came out on time, checked out the geothermal system...they were very professional and kind.

    Nicholas H., Chesapeake, VA
  • We would like to thank your company for an excellent job. We are very pleased with the new (Mitsubishi ductless mini split) system that was installed last week. It works wonderfully at heating our home.

    Danny and Teresa S., Chesapeake, VA
  • Not one single idea for improvement. Keep doing what you do. OUTSTANDING!

    Charles J., Norfolk, VA
  • Great job!...World class employees!

    Colleen & Jim C., Suffolk, VA
  • Everything went great! This is the second big project we've had done through Russell's and we couldn't be more happy! We had the most dedicated, polite, and respectful crew! The team consisted of Elliot, Chase and Sean. Sean was here for the removal process on day one, and did awesome!

    J. Luhan, VA Beach
  • Hi Nate, please pass along our appreciation for you, Elliot and Steve. We are very happy with you being able to arrange our ( Lennox ) replacement system so quickly!

    T. Johnson, VA Beach
  • Thank you for running a top notch company and sending over to us two excellent folks Terry and Shawn. They did an awesome job putting in our new furnace system. Also thank you for Donald and Nate who did a superb job as well. Please reward these guys with some sort of commendations or rewards....

  • ...folks need to know how wonderful working with Russell's Heating & Air Conditioning is. They were very professional all the way thru the process of getting our unit installed down to the payment plan. I have been telling our neighbors and my co-workers about the experience.

    Pamela F., Chesapeake, VA
  • Every moment from the time an appointment was set up until the day the work was completed was a pleasure. Every employee was a delight to work with. The proof that the product was great came when the electric bills started coming in the airconditioning season.

    Douglas P., VA Beach
  • I am extremely satisfied with both the Lennox unit I purchased and the employees of Russell's. Even with poor window and door quality in this overly tired house, I am actually cooled off sufficiently enough to call it chilly.

    Robin W., Chesapeake, VA
  • Over the years I have gained the utmost trust in my service technician Corey Lesko's knowledge and work ethic while servicing my system.

  • I am writing this letter to commend your company on a great job! We were very pleased with how the company performed in every area...the installers did an impeccable job. They were very knowledgeable, efficient, and hard workers—staying focused to the task in the extreme heat.

    Pastor Larry E. O'Brien, Churchland Assembly of God
  • A year ago, I contracted with Russell's to tune up and clean the heating and cooling system. How impressively your specialist cleaned my system...he also found a defective automatic (programmable) thermostat. Quite quickly, he replaced my automatic thermostat. The results?

    R. Snider, Norfolk, VA
  • You recently installed a new Trane unit for us. We want you to know we are completely satisfied. The outside unit is now a hum versus the roar of the old one...we also want to recognize the installer...we cannot overstate what we think of his workmanship.

    K. Hawkins, Portsmouth, VA
  • Great and prompt service – as usual. Everything from ordering the a/c unit to installation went smoothly. Thanks for everything.

    B. Fenstermaker, VA Beach
  • Everyone was very nice. I felt well informed about my purchase. Your staff is great! I don't usually return opinion forms, but you need to know you have a staff you can be proud of!

    V. Horn, Chesapeake, VA
  • You have a new customer for life and I will definitely tell all my friends about your prompt, courteous service, your knowledgeable technicians, and your very reasonable prices. Thank you very much Russell's. You warmed much more than just my heart!

    G. Knoop, Chesapeake, VA
  • Your company was very responsive to my needs. The quality of your work was extremely high.

    Ms. Bright, Chesapeake, VA
  • Your workers actually made this total replacement project an enjoyable learning experience...they were always willing to stop and answer any questions. Their pleasant and cooperative attitudes cannot be praised enough!

    J. Wellons, Portsmouth, VA
  • Very pleased with both the price and service. The installation went off without a hitch and everything exceeded our expectations. When finished, the work areas, including the attic, were so clean you couldn't tell anything had been done.

    T. Marsh, VA Beach
  • Great expertise and timely service.

    H. Turbeville, Chesapeake, VA

Maintenance Plans

Russell's HVAC, HVAC service technician, VA

Regular annual maintenance keeps your system operating at peak efficiency. Experience has shown that a system that runs well keeps your utility costs in line — in fact, independent 3rd party research shows that you can save over $30 per month on utility bills.


Just like your annual physical at the doctor’s office keeps you healthy, an annual tune-up or safety and efficiency check on your heating and cooling systems can keep your home working smoothly.